Shark Week, Aunt Flo, Girl Flu. Whatever you call it, periods have had many nicknames to go with their annoying symptoms. Although we have unique experiences when it comes to our menstrual cycles, many women rely on two products to handle their cycle - tampons and pads.
However, just like our bodies, women’s needs for their period gear are different too. In order to meet this need, companies are creating new alternatives to the standard glad rag that can make women’s lives, and their periods, easier.
Known for being handy and portable, tampons are one of the most popular ways to handle your period, but they also have some serious side effects. We are all aware that they can cause toxic shock syndrome, but with constant use, they can dry your vagina and stop good fluids and bacteria from maintaining a balanced pH.
Also, they are not the most environmentally friendly. An average woman goes through over 11,000 tampons within her lifetime, and those usually end up in landfills. Not only is it a cost on the environment, but it’s also one on the wallet. That woman who uses over 11,0000 tampons also spends over $2,300 on tampons in her lifetime.
For those looking to move away from tampons, but still like a product that is vaginally inserted, there are a plethora of products that get the job done. First is a product that was used years before tampons were even considered.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, a sponge!? Although they seem like an outdated idea, sponges are a hypoallergenic alternative for women who are irritated by tampons. Not only are they an all-natural product, they are reusable and cost effective. Now, one cannot simply go out to the beach and pick up a sponge, rather there are companies that prep their products for use.
If going natural isn’t your thing, there is a product that women everywhere are buying up - menstrual cups. Now this isn’t for the faint of heart. A menstrual cup allows a woman to be up close and personal with her body, but there isn’t any shame in that. Menstrual cups also allow women to understand how much they bleed within a day or cycle with their unique cup design. While many think that they bleed a river, the average woman only bleeds a shot glass worth every cycle.
The suction cup design is easy to use and leak-proof, and can be used for up to 12 hours.
Menstrual cups are also sold in disposable forms. Their benefit is that they fit women of all sizes, including those who’ve had children, and fit high enough in the canal for sex.
Photo Credit: ThePeriodStore.com
And now some of you may be thinking, what about pads? They have been a trusty product for years and are usually the first introduction for young girls to period merchandise. But just like tampons, they can be drying and cause a lot of waste. For those who prefer the ease of pads but want a healthier option, opt for cloth pads.
You can go the store route and buy them or do a quick search online to learn how to make your own. Little House Living has a great pattern and instructions on her website.
Broadening the dialogue and exploring women’s options can liberate us from the generic period experience. Although it doesn’t ease the pain of cramps, having options can make periods more comfortable and easier on our daily lives.